This is the 5th post in a series exploring the Beatitudes and the Salt and Light passage at the beginning of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew 5.

Before we turn attention to today’s Beatitude, just a reminder that I’ve given 4 principles for interpretation HERE. If you need a refresher, feel free to go back and review them.

And now, on to our Beatitude for today!

Blessed are the merciful

Up to this point the Beatitudes move the disciple to examine the health of his soul according to his attitudes and beliefs about himself in relation to God. From this point forward the Beatitudes address the disciple in relation to other people. The first of these Beatitudes deals with mercy:

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” ~ Matthew 5:7

The disciple is merciful because his Lord is merciful. In Exodus 34:6-7, God reveals Himself as “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…” A merciful disciples acts in awareness of who God is and how God relates to him in mercy. God’s mercy is revealed in its most clear way in the crucifixion of the Son of God on the cross.

The disciple is moved by God’s mercy—this amazing God who would send His Son to die for sinners—to act toward another sinner in the same way that God acted toward him. Rather than seeking revenge, or holding a grudge, or demanding justice, the disciple runs to Jesus seeking the power to extend mercy toward even the worst offender. In Christ’s empowering and merciful embrace, the disciple mercifully embraces those who wounded him.

Thus, that the merciful receive mercy is not a conditional blessing. Rather, it reveals the reality that it is impossible to extend mercy to another sinner unless you first know—cognitively and experientially—that God has extended such mercy to a sinner like yourself. You receive mercy, so you show mercy. And, in showing mercy, you act like your Father. The merciful show and are shown mercy.

Do you extend mercy?

“Sermon on the Mount” by Carl Heinrich Bloch

Do you readily extend mercy to others? Is it difficult to extend mercy to someone in your life? Here are a some questions to help you reflect:

  • Do you use social media to publicly destroy the reputation, name, or personhood of someone else? The “someone else” could be an acquaintance, an unnamed person at the grocery store, a celebrity, a politician… pretty much anyone who you intend to destroy by your words.
  • Do you struggle with the urge to seek revenge, hold a grudge, demand justice, or demand your rights from someone who wronged you?
If you’re like me, you wrestle in some way with all of those questions. Let’s acknowledge our need, rehearse the Gospel in our hearts, and ask the Holy Spirit to empower us to be merciful as He is merciful.

Take the next step (5 minutes)

  • Take 5 minutes right now to consider a person (or persons) for whom it is difficult for you to extend mercy. Pause and pray. As the Holy Spirit to warm your heart with the Gospel, confess your sin, and seek His power to extend mercy.

In this series

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Metanoia LogoMetanoia Church (Ellicott City, MD) is a spiritual community moving toward Jesus Christ.